Hungary’s foreign minister will not be intimidated when it comes to the dispute with Ukraine over dual citizenship, a ministry official said on Sunday.
Tamás Menczer, state secretary for international representation, told a news conference that state-sanctioned attacks against Hungarians were taking place. He said the foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, had been listed as an enemy on an extremist Ukrainian website after having criticised President Petro Poroshenko.
“The Hungarian foreign minister will not be intimidated,” he said, adding that Transcarpathian Hungarians could always count on Szijjártó’s unconditional backing.
The website’s allegation that Szijjarto had threatened Ukraine with armed intervention was untrue, he said.
Poroshenko’s unpopular administration thinks it can win votes by whipping up extremist sentiment, he said. It has also politically exploited the Hungarian community, which is “unacceptable” given Ukraine wants to join NATO and the European Union, he added.
Menczer said attacks against Transcarpathian Hungarians sank to a new low when the Ukrainian secret service carried out an act of subterfuge at the Beregszász consulate general, “violating all written and unwritten diplomatic rules”.
Szijjártó met his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin during the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian minister conceded there is no law that prohibits possession of the passport of another country, he said.
Furthermore, there is no law there prohibiting the handover of a passport of another country, he said. Neither is there a requirement for anyone to report possession of another country’s passport, he added. Hungary will not recall its Beregszász consuls, “no matter what the Ukrainians advise”.
The Beregszász consulate operates in line with Hungarian and international law and it does not fall foul of Ukrainian laws either,
He noted that the Ukrainian governor of Transcarpathia (Kárpátalja) had recently divulged that at least half of Ukrainian lawmakers have a second nationality.
“In light of this, the attack on the Hungarians is unacceptable.”
Menczer said questioning of the rights of the Hungarian national community was taking place in a tendentious and intimidating manner. He noted that Ukraine’s education law removes the right of local Hungarians to study in their mother tongue, and changes to the language law, he added, would pave the way for the Hungarian language to be suppressed in the areas of culture, the media and public administration.
The office of the Hungarian Cultural Association of Transcarpathia has been attacked twice and the second time it was blown up.
Meanwhile, Transcarpathian small and medium enterprises involved in the Transcarpathian development scheme financed by the Hungarian government “are invited to hearings from time to time”, the state secretary said, adding that Hungarian diplomats are constantly being harassed.